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Purdue Partners with Cisco, Lilly for Corporate Ed

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Purdue University is expanding into the corporate learning realm with two new deals with Fortune 500 corporations Cisco Systems and Eli Lilly and Co. The institution worked with each company to create custom courses for their employees, with a focus on providing high-quality content in a flexible online format.

"One thing we have learned is that companies want flexibility in their online education," said Gerry McCartney, executive vice president for Purdue Online, in a statement. "We are able to offer an immediately available product that works for one company's learner cohorts rather than requiring the usual academic scheduling. We listened carefully to another company's business problem to create a series of custom courses for their employees."

One of Purdue Online's core goals is the form "partnerships with businesses desiring to upgrade employee skills through existing or tailored programming, featuring measurable outcomes and backed by Purdue's disciplinary and educational delivery expertise," according to a news announcement. The initiative pulls together offerings from the Purdue University system's physical campuses and from Purdue Global, the university's online institution.

Executives from both Cisco and Lilly pointed to the business need for partnering with higher education institutions to help keep employee skills up-to-date. "Technology is moving so fast and elements of it have become mission-critical in most businesses. So if you are a senior manager or experienced technology professional, you may recognize that a modern understanding of capabilities like cybersecurity, machine learning, IoT and automation are essential for you, but that certainly wasn't a core part of your coursework five, 10 or 20 years ago," said Tim Coleman, vice president and information officer for medicines development at Lilly and executive sponsor of a program that provides continuing education for Lilly information technology employees. "Corporations are really beginning to understand that their best employees need continuous learning in order to continue to perform at a high level."

"By working with Purdue to build curriculum tailored to the business challenges we are facing, we have been able to draw on Purdue's expertise in teaching and learning as well as the expertise of Purdue faculty," commented Jeff Cristee, vice president for worldwide sales training at Cisco. "The insight we have gained has been helpful in shaping our direction, but more importantly, the depth and sophistication of their thought process and research has given us the credibility we need to reach our senior sellers with new concepts and instruction that will help them meet their customer needs in future."

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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